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Monday, July 4, 2016

Remembering the Whisper is A Lie

Spring has ended, it's the dawn of summer (along with summer jobs): I've faced losing my job, finding a new one, making friends and losing friends, and a million things between. They've made my life messy as a tangled and tied wad of headphone cords! Ahead, the new Fall semester looms, promising to to throw this so-called "summer vacation" a tizy as I try to prepare for September. Nothing about gearing up for school, so far, is going smoothly. Yes, its only* just July and I'm already preparing to go back.... ugh..

Sometimes, when we're overwhelmed, we fail and fall apart. Crankiness rears its ugly head, Impatience nibbles at your toes and makes you snap at everyone, while Habits and Attitudes settle on your back like a cloak, slyly suggesting they can comfort you when really, all you needed was a nap. It can be tough to fend them off, and sometimes I don't want to admit that I'm fighting them.

A while ago, I talked about God's little love notes, and how he offers them to us as a way out of our brokenness. (Okay, perhaps I dithered on about many things, but the thought was there.) Those little notes pointed to a love so huge they were hard to accept.

But there is a message in the clutter, too. In the overwhelming and in wretchedness, there's always  whisper. Even when it's some of the usually more pleasant type buzzing that keeps you moving about, sheer volume of things to consider can leave behind the feeling that 'you can't do this,' and the idea that life is 'just too much,' can keep presenting itself.  In the neatly wrapped package of rush and despair is that insidious lie, small enough to gobble up; almost a  relief after drowning in Love: "You are pitiful, you are weak, you are unloved."

In the chaos of life, its easy to treat the stressors of every day as hassles and crosses. My job is hard because of this, my friends need me here, my family there. My professor has this unusually BS requirement. So work is hard? "Deal with it!" Oh, and "offer it up," right? That's advice we throw around like candy! Defeat the naysayers causing you trouble. We're told things like "Don't let circumstance get you down," "take it into your own hands," "Fight for what you want!" Popular right now are the words of Shia LeBeuf : "Just do it."

But "Just doing it" isn't always the answer. Sometimes these words can give us the jolt of "fight" we need to plow through, and with looming stressors as obstacles, it would seem to make sense to push past them at times. Yet oftentimes it does little or nothing to counter lie. If anything, these combative words of encouragement set us up for a whole new round of failure by erecting difficultly as the enemy, with a goal and a obstacle. And with 5000 thing on your mind, more than likely you're going to splat up against a few of them.

I don't say this to be cynical. I know that, with God on my side, anything is possible, and yet I cannot tell you how many times I have armed myself with American determination and a good old Christian prayerfulness and smacked right into a brick wall! The attitude that things just have to be done means, if the fight isn't won and the goal unachieved, you'll fall back in deeper straights than ever because the lie of failure seems to come true. Not because fighting to achieve is a bad thing, but because we think of achievement wrongly. The only thing we have to achieve is God's greater glory.

People can get in the way of work, and doing work well gives gives glory to God. In Shia's rabid "Just do it" world, a concrete success is made the finish line.

Perhaps in the light of summertime and it's bright clutter it's harder to see the temptation to that lie, or maybe for some it's clearer. For me, after all the joy of it's family gatherings and bright demands make the lie seem like the murmurings of an insignificant worm.. The other stressors and temptations can kiss my butt when my family is around to help me. How could I have ever believed it?

But it snares many even in Paradise. There was a worm and a lie that made our first parents fall, and they were in the Garden of Eden! A "you are lowly, and I shall make you gods!" was whispered in their ears when, when the Most High God had already created a luscious garden for them. Their innocence was a gift, not an obstacle to be overcome, but they leaped over it in an effort to achieve the snake's vision of success rather than God's Glory, and they found a pit on the other side.  False glory was a bait, and ingratitude a prod, and it was there that humanity fell down.

I propose Gratitude as the stave against idolization of the future, dreams, and success; Contentment to stave off glorification of achievements; ready wiliness to respond to the Giver to stave of habitual sin and temptation. Those three* together have so often kept me out of the mire.

How many of us, at a Sunday meal or maybe even Thanksgiving day, are able to indulge in that beautiful tradition of sitting around the table with your family and sharing what you were thankful for? Mine doesn't really do that specifically, but I was taught to thank God at the end of the day. And I do try to give thankfulness some thought in the evening. My life is hectic, (to greater and lesser degrees,) especially as a student. It is beautiful to hear the little golden linings people are finding in their own lives.

I have many things that I'm thankful for, my job, my school, my friends, my family, and on and on until I run outta fingers and toes and teeth to count on. Its like a the Earth we stand on, so huge that we can only see our square mile. These are the love notes of everyday life. I delight in them everyday, and even when I'm too shortsighted to appreciate family one moment or am bitter about schoolwork the next, he still smothers me with these blessings because His Love is just that good. He leaves us proof of this Love every day, more times than we can count, bigger than we can take in.


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